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Four local GoodLife Fitness employees have now been diagnosed with COVID-19

Concerns about a second wave of COVID-19 continue to mount in Toronto as we head into the Labour Day long weekend after nine consecutive days of seeing three-digit case number increases.

Adding fuel to the fire is a rash of recent announcements from popular malls, restaurants and gyms disclosing positive cases among employees.

No gym in Canada is as popular as GoodLife Fitness, and no one brand (save for maybe JOEY restaurant) has been generating more buzz in recent days related to staffers testing positive for COVID-19.

Here's the thing, though: Despite the many tweets, news articles and "OMG" texts may have seen this week, only four GoodLife employees in the entire GTA have actually tested positive for the coronavirus since gyms resumed operations under Stage 3 of Ontario's reopening plan.

That's four people out of 3,700 associates working in the Toronto area, according to GoodLife.

"As of today (Friday, September 4), there have been four instances in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) where a GoodLife associate has tested positive for COVID-19 since reopening," said the fitness chain's VP of Operations, Tracy Matthews, by email on Friday. "GoodLife currently operates 102 Clubs in the GTA, employing over 3,700 associates."

The cases include:

"We have worked closely with regional Public Health in each situation to do extensive contact tracing and promptly contact any member or associate who visited the Club during the same time as the affected individual," said Matthews when asked about any additional precautions the company is taking in light of these cases.

"In working with various public health units, our understanding is that these cases have been considered low risk for transmission."

GoodLife has been rigorous in the implementation of new pandemic health and safety rules since reopening in Toronto and Peel Regions on July 31.

Among the new measures in place at all GoodLife gyms are mandatory masks for employees, online booking for all workouts, nightly deep sanitization, increased space between equipment, new wayfinding signage to encourage physical distancing and a 30-minute "club reset" cleaning after each hour of member activity.

"GoodLife has taken tremendous strides to implement measures that meet and exceed guidelines set out by local government and public health authorities and are designed to decrease the risk of transmission in our Clubs, even if someone who tests positive has been in our facility," says Matthews.

"GoodLife takes the health and safety of our Associates and Members very seriously and will continue to take proactive measures to limit exposure to COVID-19 across our Clubs."

Reports of infections among retail and restaurant employees in general, many of who happen to be on the younger side, appear to be on the rise.

Earlier this week, an employee at Yorkdale Mall's JOEY restaurant was found to have tested positive for the virus, less than one week after a Foot Locker inside the same mall shut down on account of at least one (but potentially multiple) cases of COVID-19 among staffers.

The Dundas West bar Swan Dive voluntarily shut down last weekend after two customers were found to have the virus, and Sherway Gardens revealed on Tuesday that COVID-19 had been detected in employees at both The Keg and JOEY restaurants.

All the more reason to heed the advice of Toronto Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa to keep your distance, wash your hands often and wear a mask.

In the words of Ontario Premier Doug Ford on Friday afternoon: "[People] shouldn't be sharing anything. I don't care if it's those doobies, joints, whatever you want to call them, or drinks, or anything; just don't share 'em, simple. And wear a face covering."

Lead photo by

GoodLife Fitness

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